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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

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Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

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Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

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What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

Q. I received a collection notice for a medical bill.  How is this even possible when my health insurance should have paid it?  What should I do now?

A. Medical bills are a serious concern for many Americans.  In fact, a 2017 Gallop Poll revealed that 54% of US adults are concerned that they may not be able to pay their medical costs following a serious illness or accident. So while you are not alone, it is important that you take action now to resolve this debt. 

As a consumer, it is your responsibility to provide your health care provider with all your insurance information so your claim can be filed accurately. If the claim isn’t processed correctly, it is your job, not the health care provider’s job, to resolve it. As a consumer, you are responsible for knowing what kind of insurance you have and what it covers. 

Because the insurance belongs to you, you have the burden of handling this situation. If you ignore a bill, hoping it will go away, nothing will happen to resolve the problem. When a bill goes unresolved or unpaid, it usually ends up in collections.  If it goes to collections and remains unpaid, a provider may opt to file a judgement. You don’t want to go into collections or receive a judgment simply because of an error or a misunderstanding.

To handle this problem, start by contacting the collection agency and asking for a detailed statement of the bill. Next, pull out your health insurance policy and read it carefully. Is the bill for a service that should have been covered? Do you have a co-pay, and the bill you received represents this amount?  Perhaps you had not met your deductible and therefore you owed the medical provider. Did you use an out-of-network provider and incurred higher costs a result? Is the bill for a service you did not receive?  Or is it possible that your health care provider or insurance company did not have all the information they needed for your claim? 

If you’ve kept your “explanation of benefits,” or EOB, from your insurance company, then pull it out and review it for accuracy. If you can’t find your EOB, contact your health insurance company to get a new one. With your EOB in hand, ask to speak to an insurance representative who can help you sort through what happened to your bill and ask them to explain why it wasn’t covered. Does this explanation match what your health insurance policy states?

If there was an error in processing your bill, ask for it to be processed again. It’s possible you may need to submit an appeal to the insurance company to resolve the bill. If you make an appeal, you must follow the appeal’s process. If it turns out you rightfully owe the amount, contact the collection agency and make arrangements to pay what you owe.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.